Having run out of relief pitchers heading after 15 innings, the Chicago Cubs turned to backup catcher John Baker to take the mound. And boy did it pay off.
The 33-year-old did just about everything in the 16th frame. First, he pitched a scoreless inning that included a walk and a double play. Then in the bottom of the 16th, Baker stepped up to the plate and drew a six-pitch leadoff walk. Three batters later, Baker was standing on third with the bases loaded and just one out. Chicago's Starlin Castro lined out to right field, but it was deep enough to allow Baker to tag up and score the winning run.
Baker became the first position player to earn a win since Chris Davis did so for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012 and only the fourth to do it since 1968. He also happened to earn the win in what turned out to be the longest game in Cubs history.
"I was having trouble not smiling on the mound. You never get opportunities to do things like this," Baker said after the game, via the Associated Press. Baker also said the last time he pitched might have been in college. "It was the Cape Cod League. I believe I had like a 27.00 ERA, but I was getting squeezed from what I remember."
Here are a couple other fun facts about Baker's performance.
John Baker the first position player pitcher to win and score the game winning run since Rocky Colavito 8/25/1968. Run scored in 6th.
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 30, 2014
John Baker is the first player to pitch and catch for the #Cubs in the same season since Malachi Kittridge in 1896.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) July 30, 2014